Monday, October 31, 2011


I wish I could say I carved this jack-o-lantern, but instead, it was carved by an artist down the street.

This was my work. He's a worried jack-o-lantern. The economy and all. It's rough, being a squashed-based entity in these times.

Matt went the Batman route. On the back it says, "I am the 1%. Tax me."

I had full sized candy bars to give out, but had no takers until 8:30 when one family stopped by. Three kids. They were cute. We're not in the best Trick or Treat area.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We go to Italy

Our friend Laurie turns 40 this year and when her husband asked her what she wanted to do for her 40th birthday she said, "I want to go to Italy!"

With the help of excellent party planners Brooke and Darla (last seen at the Hogan Hoedown) we all went to Italy!

This is Burt and Laurie's Parlor. It usually has comfortable chairs for chatting in, but today: Italy!

Aside from a great progression of pictures of Laurie, we also got to eat bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. There was hummus too!

A beautiful table, which also had an awning over it. Bad picture taking on my part. This table was joined by many different kinds of pizza.

There were even waiters!

Because Laurie doesn't do sugar, there was no cake. Instead, we had grape stomping. Here Laurie stomps.

Then the younger generation takes over.

And even the youngest stomped. Though not for very long.

We couldn't get enough stomping.

Including Matt.

Then Darla hopped in.

Then both Brooke and Darla found they could stomp, albeit, with support from Matt.

Looking out this window, you could even see a street scene.

Matt reminds us where we are.
It was a great birthday party and we had all the fun of Italy with none of the jet lag.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Potato Harvest

What do 142 pounds of potatoes look like? I can show you, as my potato harvest from the Acreage has been sitting neatly bagged on my bedroom floor for several weeks now. "The Acreage" is what I've been calling the very large parking strip down the street. Chris and Erin, the homeowners, agreed to let me plant potatoes there. In the spring, I and the short-lived gardening partner planted eight pounds of seed potatoes. It was a good payoff.

Aside from this haul, Stephanie and I also harvested 60 pounds from her side yard making my total yield just over 200 pounds.
I offered Chris and Erin half of the crop, but they demurred and took two pounds of each kind. So I've got a lot of potatoes to feed me this winter. This is a very happy thing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Purple Heart

I sliced into one of my "All Blue" potatoes (and I have no idea why they refer to them as "blue" when they are so clearly "purple" ) today and was greeted by two purple hearts.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NWCTC's King John

We enjoyed another production by the Northwest Classical Theatre Company. I forgot to bring my camera and there were three things I would have taken pictures of, if only. Instead you get words.

The drama was set in the present, which worked very well as two countries arguing and warring is not foreign to our modern sensibilities. Aside from the action on stage, there were also updates "from the field" given by newscasters as the royal families watched on television. The music, (sound design/original compositions according to the program) by Sharath Patel added a lot to the story and I found the costumes very complementary to the action. Well done Elizabeth Huffman (who also directed.)

Michael Fisher Welsh was a very good King John, and Vana O'Brien was a very good Eleanor, ably overcoming what I thought was a very bad wig. Dana Millican (who we saw before in Pericles) stole the show as Constance, pleading angrily then desperately for Arthur to take the throne. I was also impressed by both Grant Byington (who we saw in Twelfth Night) and Matt DiBiasio who were both double cast, Byington as King Phillip and also Salsbury, DiBiasio as Austria/Pembroke. Both changed so much about their demeanor that I had to read the program more than once before I realized the double casting.

NWCTC sells treats in the lobby and posts prices on a whiteboard above the treat table. This time their board offered coffee, tea, cookies and Lady Blanche. The first items sold for fifty cents to one dollar, the last was for sale for five countries and 30,000 marks.* We bought cookies.

*King John insider joke. Heh heh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Corn Harvest

I grew this corn, called Cascade Creamcrop, (bred by Carol Deppe, author of the Resilient Gardener) to grind into polenta. And also to make compost with the stalks. I've just started the harvest today. Doesn't it look great?

Note that leaving the husks on the cob like that caused a pretty much immediate growth of mold, so I quickly shucked them all the way before they could become a massive moldy mess. Now to pull the seeds off the cob, save a few of the best for next year's crop, and dry the rest for grinding. And that reminds me that I need to get a grinder.

Monday, October 17, 2011


When we moved into the house, there was the perfect space in the laundry area for the stand alone freezer. Later, Chris and I built the shelves in the front room, and when the cat came along the lower space was good for the cat boxes. Until it wasn't. The clumping litter is dusty and the dust was getting all over the baker's rack filled with cooking tools as well as the table. Not to mention that Sentinel inevitably decides he has important cat box business when anyone visits. Still, where to put the cat boxes if not there? There seemed to be no other space.

Until, that is, one morning a few days ago when in that time between awake and asleep I thought to myself, "If I move the freezer out to the front room, that will make room for the cat boxes."

And lo, it did. The set up is not perfect as I don't like the file cabinet flanking one side of the table with the freezer flanking the other, but I like it much better than having cat litter dust all over everything.

I also lost some good side storage space next to the freezer. The ladder and one of the clothes drying racks, as well as the empty fruit delivery boxes, used to be stored in the space between the freezer and the wall. I found room for the ladder and the drying rack in the closet. They aren't as handy there, because we have to move things to access them, but we don't use them much anyway. I'm still not sure where to put the fruit delivery boxes. I use them for protection between the litter boxes and the floor, so I like to have them on hand.

Overall, though it's not a perfect situation, it's a great improvement.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

PAE's Richard III

We've been to several Portland Actor's Ensemble productions because they are good and also free. This year, they have added a fall show to their usual two summer productions. Because it is autumn and Portland and cold and rainy, we got to see this production indoors, at Concordia University. PAE productions are usually at public parks.

Upon entering the building (which felt odd as it is something we never do at PAE productions) we were greeted by the oldest member of PAE, Boxy. Boxy (seen on the right here) collects the donations that keeps the productions running. Recently, Online Boxy, a newer cast member, has joined Boxy in collecting donations.

We were warned. And it was quite long.
So long, in fact, that Matt floated the idea of leaving at intermission and coming back another night to see the rest. I veoted that as I knew we would never get around to coming back and would have for years Richard III only half checked off. And then I would have to read the darn play again at some future date.

This was a very spare production (as most PAE productions are) which gave us ample opportunity to focus on the words and the acting. As usual the cast was outstanding. Richard, played by Nathan Duncan, was a very beguiling psychopath. Just a few weeks prior, we learned in Northwest Classical Theatre's production of Good Will that Richard III is widely considered to be quite evil, but also quite sexy.

Matt Smith, playing George, Duke of Clarence was quite moving as he discovered that his brother had hired thugs to kill him off while he waited in the Tower. Linda Goertz, as Margaret of Anjou, was riveting as she cursed her many enemies. There were several actors in the production I recognized from other PAE productions and the ensemble jelled quite well. We attended on the second night of the production and actors were still stepping on each other's lines a bit, but not so much it detracted from the overall expereince.

After I vetoed us leaving at intermisison, Matt went to find snacks. While there, he entered his information to win a t-shirt. After the show concluded and we were leaving, I heard a gentleman asking the people in front of us, "Are you Matt Johnston?" "Are you Matt Johnston?" It turned out Matt had won a PAE T-shirt!

This was, he was assured, a special t-shirt because it had a misprint. The t-shirt advertised the Tempest as a 2010 production when in fact we saw the Tempest this year.
It pays to stay to the end.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Timer Found

I found it under the freezer, broken and full of dust. This was our "laundry timer" when we lived in the Fortress of Solitude in Southwest Portland. We shared the washer and dryer with the other tenant in the building and we used this timer to remind us to grab our clothes from the dryer when they were done.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Good Will

We had another great night of theater from the Northwest Classical Theater Company. Grant Turner, Artistic Director of the NWCTC, put together a one-man show about the life, times, and works of William Shakespeare. It included over 20 speeches from the canon.

The ShoeBox theater is looking lovely with a fancy new floor.

It was interesting to hear not only about Shakespeare's life, but why plays were important to Grant Turner and to the NWCTC. Thanks Grant Turner!